It’s 5 AM and her mother and brother are both still asleep, not knowing that the girl has been up all night. The witching hour has past and this girl has done plenty of witching, as witching goes. Though she doesn’t quite understand herself how much. Until she starts screaming.
Her mother knows exactly what’s going on—or thinks she does. She doesn’t want to know it, she doesn’t want to accept that something like that could be happening to her own daughter, but there’s something about the screams that feels unnatural. Inhuman. Something terrifying.
Dios mio, she thinks, let it not be true! Please tell me my daughter has not been dealing with forces she does not understand.
Dealing with forces that we don’t understand is the only way we can possibly learn new things. Her brother understands this. He’s only fourteen—two years younger than the girl screaming him into consciousness—but he’s already somewhat of a scientist. If he were better off economically, a gringo in a better part of town, at a better school where they believed in him, he would probably be at M.I.T. by now. But he lives in the ghetto and looks like a Mexican thug. There are forces that he “couldn’t possibly understand” like white supremacy and whatever nationalism tells people to send a natural born citizen “back” to his mother’s Guatemala or his father’s Bolivia. But not understanding these forces doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have to deal with them—hell, dealing with them is how he understands them better.
Little does he know that’s exactly why his sister has been dealing with me.
It’s not just the bed that she’s thrashing on. She’s not levitating—not yet. She isn’t able (yet) to crawl up the walls and on the ceiling, but she’s spasming, thrashing around. She fell off the bed and crashed into the desk. Then she fell to the floor, but she bounced and by the time her mother bursts into the room—Dios mio—she’s rolling around on the wall.
“What’s happening?” her mother asks, “What’s wrong, little angel girl?”
The brother appears in the doorway behind her before she can cover his eyes and push him out. She doesn’t want the boy seeing this, his own sister in such a state! Who knows what she could do? She’d be tearing off her nightgown soon enough!
But the boy has seen enough to know what’s happening (he thinks).
“She’s having a seizure, mamá. We need to call a hospital! An ambulance!”
“A hospital?” his mother scoffs. “What do they know of such things?” Mamá calls a priest. For some reason, she can’t get a hold of Padre Ramón at her own church, but she happens to know some people. Finally, after an hour (after she had secured her daughter by tying her down with sheets), she gets hold of Father Mosby from the Irish Church, and he believes her because he is a man of Faith and he tells her he will be there within half an hour.
“Half an hour, angelita! Don’t worry! This will be over soon!”
Half an hour. I’ve already been inside the girl for twice that—half this time again? I don’t know if I can bear it.
There’s supposed to be a vetting process for these things. We’re supposed to be matched.
A young girl requests the aid of an Angel of the Lady, she wants us to suffuse her. She wants us to build a temple on her Soul.
At least, that’s the theory. But that other God has convinced too many of them that Our Lady is the devil’s dam.
Too much of this girl’s Soul is soaked in concrete. I should have been prepared for this. We should have known her background, should have been briefed, and now the operation is bungled and this girl is paying the price: a Demon, an Angel cut off from her Mother-God, is too big for a Soul that doesn’t accept her. I am tearing her apart and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
“Where is the child?” the Priest at the door asks after his promised half hour is up.
By now, the power she’s been channeling from me is pouring out.
Things even her genius brother can’t explain are happening in this apartment. Flickering lights. Discoloration in the walls. Random Psychokinesis. Black, blood-like ooze spilling from the drains. His sister levitating as the horror transpiring on her Soul starts to break out on her face, her skin and even the structure of her bones.
I’m killing her. I want to tell her I’m sorry, but my screams come in a language she couldn’t possibly understand, which is why she’s killing me, too. Some ironic justice.
It will be over soon. The Priest will kill me, probably by summoning an Angel of his own to push me out, one that her Figments will accept to make them calm down. She will be free and my suffering will be over. I take comfort in that. I will have failed my mission and I will probably be unraveled completely, fragments of my being used by Celestials and Conceptuals to build new principles and Messengers for them.
But this poor girl, this poor “little angel” her mother keeps calling her, will know herself better.
“You have a rosary?” the Priest asks the mother. She hands it to him. “Good. And I will need water to bless. A bucket, if you have it. As much as possible. And lock the boy in his room. He should not be made to bear witness.”
The woman nods because she is a woman of Faith and does as she is told, over the objections of her son who is even now beginning to restructure his understanding of the world in light of new events. A true scientist. He will go far.
“You will knock and await my answer before entering,” is his last command to her before he closes the door and ends up alone in the room with the girl I’m inhabiting.
“Alone at last,” he tells me. But he says it in a language so ancient no ordinary Earthling could possibly know it, and I realize my mistake in trusting human priesthood.
I recognize him now.
“I don’t know why you lot even bother,” he scolds me. “No one wants you on this planet anymore. So you end up like this.” He casts a spell to calm the girl, but it’s one that keeps me trapped here. “Do you have any idea how long exorcisms have been known to take place here? How much this woman would sacrifice to keep the devil out of her child?” He smiles and it scares me more than lifetimes trapped in here. “Do you have any idea how few of the subjects survive?”
The girl’s blood runs cold through me.
He leans down and whispers into her ear: “We are going to have fun tonight, you and I…”